This Article is From May 07, 2022

"Science Doesn't Lie, Modi Does": Rahul Gandhi On WHO Covid Deaths Report

'Science Doesn't Lie, Modi Does': Rahul Gandhi On WHO Covid Deaths Report

Rahul Gandhi demanded that the government should give compensation to the families of the dead..

New Delhi:

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi today hit out at the government over a WHO report of 4.7 million "excess" Covid deaths, saying "science does not lie, Prime Minister Narendra Modi does".

Mr Gandhi also demanded that the government should support the families that have lost loved ones by giving them the mandated Rs four lakh compensation.

In a tweet, he said, "47 lakh Indians died due to the Covid pandemic. NOT 4.8 lakh as claimed by the Govt. Science doesn't LIE. Modi does".

"Respect families who've lost loved ones. Support them with the mandated ₹4 lakh compensation," the former Congress chief said.

The BJP hit back at the Congress leader, alleging that the WHO's data and Congress' "beta" (son) are wrong.

At a press conference, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra also said that Mr Gandhi has tried repeatedly to lower Prime Minister Narendra Modi's image since 2014 and has in the process lowered India's image.

In a report released Thursday, WHO said between January 2020 and December 2021, there were 4.7 million "excess" Covid deaths in India -- the maximum number that's 10 times the official figures and almost a third of Covid deaths globally. The global figure, according to the report, was 15 million -- more than double the official figure of 6 million.

India has strongly refuted the WHO's use of the mathematical model to calculate the number of Covid deaths, saying the "figure is totally removed from reality". Contending that the country has an "extremely robust" system of births and deaths registration, the Union health ministry, in its rebuttal, called the WHO's system of data collection "statistically unsound and scientifically questionable".

"India has consistently questioned WHO's own admission that data in respect of seventeen Indian states was obtained from some websites and media reports and was used in their mathematical model," the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said.

"This reflects a statistically unsound and scientifically questionable methodology of data collection for making excess mortality projections in case of India," the statement added. "Despite India's objection to the process, methodology and outcome of this modelling exercise, WHO has released the excess mortality estimates without adequately addressing India's concerns," the ministry said.

Top health experts have also expressed disappointment over the global health body's "one-size-fits-all" approach to arrive at the figure.

Dr NK Arora, chief of India's Covid Working Group, said the WHO report was "worrisome".

Speaking to NDTV this morning, Mr Arora said that while there can be a 10-20% discrepancy, India's robust and accurate death registration system (known as Civil Registration System, or CRS) ensures that a majority of virus-related deaths are covered.

Rejecting the WHO report, NITI Aayog Member (Health) V K Paul said India has been telling WHO with all humility through diplomatic channels along with data and rational reasoning that it does not agree with the methodology that has been followed for the country.

They have used a methodology for several nations which is based on a systematic collection of data on deaths.

"We have a similar system, a robust Civil Registration System (CRS). We released that report yesterday (Wednesday) and we have an actual count of deaths for 2020... the 2021 numbers will also come up," he told ANI.

The Civil Registration System of India provides accurate estimates emanating from the ground, certified and validated by the district and the state administration.

"We want them to have used these numbers. Unfortunately, despite our emphatic writing and communication at the ministerial level, they have chosen to use the numbers that are based on modelling and assumptions," Paul said.

"Modelling is a one-size-fits-all kind of assumption and you may apply it where the systems are poor. But to apply assumptions based on a subset of states and on reports that come from websites and media, and then you come out with an exorbitant number is not tenable. We are disappointed with what WHO has done," he stated.

These kinds of assumptions used for a nation of India's size "to put us in poor light is not desirable," Mr Paul added.

With inputs from ANI